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More Big East baseball, plus links to share ...

Back at Bright House Field in Clearwater for the second day of the Big East baseball tournament -- USF is due up at 5 p.m. in an elimination game against eighth-seeded West Virginia. The Bulls have lefty Andrew Barbosa on the mound, so another loss would truly be an early exit -- last time the Bulls went 0-2 in a conference tournament was 2006, in the final games under coach Eddie Cardieri.

Of the 12 teams that play baseball in the conference, USF is one of two never to play in a Big East championship game -- the Bulls have only been in the conference since 2006, while Georgetown is a charter member, with just two appearances (and no wins) since the tournament started in 1985.

The current double-elimination format gives a big advantage that can win their first two games -- do that, and you get a day off and need to win just one of the next two to reach the championship game. Of the eight teams to open 2-0 in this tournament, six have reached the championship game, the exceptions both coming in 2007, when USF and Louisville lost twice each in the semifinals. Few teams have the pitching to play six games in five days and only lose once.

Now, as Pittsburgh leads Cincinnati 7-2 in an elimination game, we have links to share ...

-- Looks like TCpalm.com has unearthed another preferred walk-on for USF football: Defensive back Zach Fisher, from South Fork in Stuart. He was a prolific running back at South Fork -- no, I'm not making any "Dallas" references here -- and you can find a highlight video here, at a site appropriately titled "The Unknown Ballers of Florida."

-- ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach ranks the conferences, with the Big East checking in at No. 6, ahead of the Mountain West.

-- Kinda sounds like Penn State coach Joe Paterno likes Rutgers for the Big Ten, based on this radio interview.

-- USF's official site has a good summer series, with football position coaches running through their positions and offering one-line comments. It's a lot of generic praise, but there's some insights to be gleaned, less so since they started running through the players in alphabetical order. Here's the linebackers and special teams. USF also has a good column from broadcaster Jim Louk on the Bulls' conference history, which gives good perspective in the current uncertain league landscape.

-- Stan Heath isn't quite done yet, but ESPN.com ranks the Big East's basketball recruiting classes -- USF holds up pretty well with a "B" grade, essentially putting the Bulls in a five-way tie for sixth place.

-- Sportingnews.com is counting down the top 100 teams in college football -- I feel bad for fans hoping to find their team, only to eventually realize they were in the bottom 20 that didn't even get counted down. Anyway, Syracuse is No. 99, and Dave Curtis picks the team's "judgment day" as its Oct. 9 Big East opener at USF. "A win in the team's Big East opener could slingshot the Orange toward their first bowl trip since 2004," he writes. Given that Stony Brook, Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic are too easy and Florida is excusably tough, the Syracuse game might be the first one to really tell something about Skip Holtz's football team.

-- If you haven't seen it, here's a Youtube clip of USF's new football commercial -- both the 30-second and 15-second models. Yes, walk-on defensive back Dennis Wideman made the cut with a hit on Joel Miller. Funny to hear Skip Holtz channel his best Dominique Jones in saying, "Let's watch y'all play football."

-- Not linking for credibility, so much as amusement -- if you want a real doomsday view of Big Ten expansion's impact on USF, check out Michigan blog Maize'n'Brew: "The most logical place for USF is in a revamped and expanded Conference USA. It's a step down for the Bulls, but it's the only step I can see them taking if they want to maintain their football program." And that, of course, is just if USF wants to maintain its football program ...

[Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:25am]

    

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